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Curly Hair: Product & Styling Tips

Updated on June 2, 2011

Like many women with curly hair, I have tried every styling product, styling tool, dryer and iron to attempt to get the “perfect curls”. I have suffered through frizz head, puffy head, crunchy head and helmet head all in the name of beauty.

But- Over the past year, I discovered a magical combination of product, tools and technique that, with a little effort, can help achieve the perfect curly look and I want to share this with other Curly Gals out there….

The Recipe

In order to achieve Perfect Curls, there are a number of key ingredients required. Like your favorite recipe, if you miss one or don’t have enough of another, you will not get the same effect. These include soaking wet, freshly washed/conditioned hair, a wide toothed comb, styling crème and mousse, a diffuser hair dryer and hair spray. The entire process, as described below, will take about 30 minutes, but may vary depending on the length and thickness of your hair.

Start With Soaking Wet Hair

Although this may be awkward at first, start your curly hair styling with soaking wet hair. When you are done with your shower do not put a towel on your head. Instead, rest it at your shoulders and use a wide tooth comb to get your hair ready and tangle free. It’s at this point, you need to add your styling products and begin the diffusing drying.

If you towel dry your hair or let it air dry, the styling products will adhere to your hair differently and you will not have the same level of results. All you need to do is try this soaking hair styling once and you will notice an immediate difference in the results- trust me!

The Right Styling Concoction

In order to achieve the perfect curly haired look, you will need a styling crème AND a styling mousse. The two together prevent frizz and flyaways allow you to coat every strand of your hair with product and define and sculpt the curls.

Start by applying the crème to every strand of your hair. Run your fingers through your hair, flip your head over to get the back. Do whatever you need to do to ensure every hair is touched. Next apply a controlled layer of styling mousse throughout. It may take practice to determine the right amount.. too much, your hair will be weighed down and crunchy, too little you won’t weigh down the curls enough.

Styling crèmes I recommend, from least to most expensive are: L’Oreal Curl Shaping Crème, Tigi Catwalk Rock Curl Amplifier and Bumble & Bumble Curling Crème. Mousses I recommend, least to most expensive are: Loreal Springing Curls Mouse, Rusk Mouse and Redken Fresh Curls mousse

How To: Up Do's for Curly Hair

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The Right Angle

For most of my blow drying years, I did so standing straight looking at the mirror. For the perfect curls you need to separate the hair from your head and allow the hair strands to “hang long”. There are two ways to achieve this 1) Bend over, hang your head down and allow your hair to drop forward over your head. Your curls should be in front of your eyes and hanging down. Or 2) Bend your head to the side, your ear to your shoulder, until your curls are hanging straight down away from your head.

I won’t fool you- neither position is ergonomically correct, but this is the pain we all go through for beauty. If you stand straight to blow dry with 2 layers of product on your hair, you will create the helmet effect. Your hair will stick to your scalp and your curls will stick together in strips.

Diffuse But Don’t Touch

After your head is in the chosen angle, use a diffuser hair dryer on high heat with a low temperature to blow dry. The key here is to blow dry every strand. If you allow any of the hair to dry on it’s own, you will reverse some of the hard work you’ve done so far. If you have coated your hair properly, you should see spiral curls forming as your hair dries. You should minimize touching or scrunching your hair and let the dryer and products do the work.

Since my hair is shoulder length, I dry my hair at an angle until about 90% dry, then complete the job looking straight for my finishing touches. My curls have formed by then, I find this last 10% of time “straight forward” helps me control the finishing touches.

Put The Frosting on the Cake

After all this work, you want to lock it in place with a high quality, frizz resistant hair spray. Having tried many drug store brands, I can only recommend one beauty store line- Sebastian Shaper Plus, Touchable Extra Humidity Hair Spray. This does what it needs to do, without making your hair sticky or crunchy

Again… The Perfect Recipe

Many articles have been written about curly hair styling, but not like this. Try this recipe and tell me what you think!

Copyright © 2008, M. Reynolds, All Rights Reserved


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    • profile image

      Klive Martha 6 years ago

      Such an awesome hub this is..I like the content of this hub.Hair styling has been an important part of ladies life,now a days.A big thanks forgiving such great info and tips on curly hair!


    • marpauling profile image

      marpauling 6 years ago

      I love the hair, Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Megan 6 years ago

      I have one question... you said blow dry at a high heat with a low temperature. That seems like a contradiction. I like all the tips though. Thank you! I will definitely try it!

    • profile image

      Iva 7 years ago

      This process is exactly the same what I figured out (with years of trying) what I should do!

      Try it out, it will work!

      I use JOHN FREIDA products for curly hair and AVEDA leave in balm for curly hair and I am very happy with them!

    • kassishae profile image

      kassishae 7 years ago from Ohio

      I have crazy curls, too, and I have to say this process is very similar to what I do when I get ready!

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      I also wrote about my curly hair - tough stuff. I'll try some of your tips.

    • profile image

      Curl Girl 7 years ago

      This is the way i've been styling my hear for my whole life, but i'm not completely satisfied with the final results. The mousse causes the hair to look 'crunchy', and drying you hair with diffuser can really damage it and cause frizz (so you need to use 10 more products to revive your hair, or cut your hair more often).

      I use Nivea Flexible Curls styling mousse... I cannot try many different products as I live in the Balkan and all those stuff for hair i see on Internet are not available in our markets. I would really want to try the Deva Curl Hair Care products.

    • PaperNotes profile image

      PaperNotes 7 years ago

      Great tips! Very helpful when I'm trying to get my curls to stay in the right place.

    • profile image

      Beautiful Butterfly (Australia) 8 years ago

      I tried the recipe and the process and it really works! My hairdresser has commented on how fantastic my hair is looking and has asked about the products I have been using on my hair to get such outstanding results. I have used Wella Hyper Curl as a styling creme and this is also very effective! Great Hub!

    • profile image

      GHD straighteners 8 years ago

      Shampoos and conditioners containing rosemary or rice protein add fullness and shine. After washing your hair use conditioner and hair cream for great shine your hair. Get a trim every 6 8 weeks. Choose good shampoo and good hair color that compliments your hair styles.

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast

      RW - Interesting concoction you have here. I was with you until the blow drying. Blow drying naturally curly hair causes frizzy hair and defeats the purpose whether you use a diffuser or not. You want to work with the curl not against it and high heat just increases the frizzies. I would say follow your directions and let your hair air dry!! Thanks for this concoction!

    • profile image

      baffsis 8 years ago

      Thanks for the tips!

      I tried this and it worked out great except my curls seems a little "crunchy"! Does that mean too much mousse?

    • Hub Love profile image

      Hub Love 8 years ago from United States

      Thanks for such great info and tips on curly hair!

    • profile image

      robinfrenstein 9 years ago

      I have curly hair and am always looking for new tips. I like the wet hair and blowdry suggestions.

    • Reynolds_Writing profile image

      Reynolds_Writing 9 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I'll have to try Pantene Ice Shine Mossee! Something new in the arsenal.

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 9 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      I had no idea we shouldn't towel dry our hair. I am going to try your tips, as I am not very satisfied with the final results of my curly hair styling.

      Thumbs up to your hub!

    • Em Writes profile image

      Em Writes 9 years ago from Upstate NY

      As a fellow curly-header, I can vouch for this process. I skip the styling creme, though, and use Pantene Ice Shine Mousse and hairspray, after Pantene Restoratives anti-frizz formula shampoo and conditioner. I then blow dry upside down. I may try adding the creme in, though, for protection from the dryer, as my ends do seem to dry out more quickly after cuts than they used to. I guess it makes sense, as both mousse and spray generally contain alcohol.

      Great hub!

    • mlmsage profile image

      mlmsage 9 years ago from Aurora, CO

      Ouch! That's a lot of effort... makes me a little bit more accepting of my straight, usually short hair.

      But you reminded me of a line from one of my favorite movies, "The Princess Bride" ... "beauty is pain, Princess!"

      Keep up the great writing!


    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 9 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      I am anxious and I am glad you figured it out , I can finaly get my hair to go in the right direction.:0